Tag Archives: teachers

LA Teachers Walk Out Following Two Years of Contract Negotiations

Thousands of Los Angeles Unified School District teachers—more than 30,000—walked off the job in mid-January. It is the first strike since 1989 for the country’s second largest school district, which includes more than 900 schools.

Teachers union President Alex Caputo-Pearl says the teachers are in “a battle for the soul of public education” with private charter schools bleeding funds away from public schools. Among the teachers’ demands over the two years of negotiations have been reduced class size; staffing nurses, counselors, and librarians; and teacher pay raises.

“The question is,” says Caputo-Pearl, “do we starve our public neighborhood schools so they (become) privatized, or do we re-invest in our public neighborhood schools for our students and for a thriving city?”

Teachers Nationwide Seek Better Pay

A report from National Education Association (NEA) Research, based on US census data, finds that annual pay for teachers has fallen sharply over the past 60 years compared to the annual pay of other workers with college degrees. Throughout the nation, the average earnings of workers with at least four years of college are now more than 50% higher than the average earnings of teachers.

The number of teachers staging rallies and threatening strikes over pay and benefits is growing. Following a statewide walkout in February, West Virginia teachers earned a modest raise. Meanwhile, Arizona teachers have conducted a series of #RedforEd demonstrations demanding higher pay. Jersey City, New Jersey, teachers went back to work March 19 after reaching a tentative agreement to end an eight-month dispute that led to a strike and school closures on Friday, March 16. Chief concerns for the 3,100 teachers were salaries and high health care costs. Oklahoma teachers who have not had a raise in a decade, have vowed to strike April 2 if there is no pay increase in the education budgets.

A 2016 NEA study ranked states from highest to lowest in terms of pay. West Virginia (48), Arizona (43), and Oklahoma (49) were among the lowest. Teachers in New York (1) and California (2) earned the most. Teachers in Mississippi (50) and South Dakota (51) earned the least.

NJ Charter School Refuses to Pay Teachers

Merit Preparatory Charter School in Newark, New Jersey, which has been ordered to close at the end of June due to its low test scores, says it will not pay its teachers the final two months owed. The teachers were paid on a 12-month schedule for 10 months of work and some are owed up to $12,000 for July and August. Though not members of the union, they have turned to the American Federation of Teachers New Jersey chapter (AFT-NJ) for help.

“The bottom line is these people are employees of the state of New Jersey, they worked, and they are entitled to this money,” says AFT-NJ President John Abeigon who is trying to help them secure their full pay.

Seattle Unions v. Seattle Times

Parents, teachers, and union leaders in Seattle are encouraging other working Americans to cancel their subscriptions to the Seattle Times. They are slamming the anti-union publication for its one-sided coverage of the teacher strikes and anti public school/pro charter school stance. Teachers went on strike September 9—the first day of school in Seattle—for the first time in 30 years. The school board had rejected most of the Seattle Education Association’s proposals centered on competitive pay, reasonable testing, guaranteed recess, student equity, and workloads. The work stoppage was suspended September 15, when the teachers were presented with a tentative agreement that addresses every one of these priority issues identified by SEA members last spring.

“This is a hard-fought victory for the kids of Seattle, and I am proud of SEA members and our incredible bargaining team,” says Jonathan Knapp, SEA president. “This agreement signals a new era in bargaining in public education. We’ve negotiated a pro-student, pro-parent, pro-educator agreement. We really appreciate the strong support from parents and students.”